Was reading the article about the MD teens in the car crash and noticed a topic that seems to arise everytime a catastrophe like this occurs. Raising the driving age. What is the age in your area? Do you agree? Why or why not? Suggestions?

In VA the age is 16 for solo driving with restrictions in place until the age of 18. I have mixed feelings on this debate. On one hand, I feel that no matter what age we set, an individual always begins driving with the same amount of experience. The maturity level that should accompany a higher age is the other side. Older individuals should be driving with a higher maturity level. Hopefully. However, even this would be on a case-by-case basis. Different teens will handle new freedoms in different ways. Maybe the solution is more time driving with an adult prior to being released. Maybe the solution is more awareness of what can happen. Most drivers ed tapes always seem to fade out when it comes to showing the destruction of the vehicles. Maybe this is something we should be showing them. The fact that this discussion keeps arising in political arenas makes me wonder if we are targeting the right aspect of it. Maybe raising the solo age is not the solution.

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It's too bad more parents wouldn't take an interest in making sure their kids are better drivers. I hauled a kid out of an overturned, badly damaged car a couple of months ago after the driver, who is dead, lost control of the car on an isolated road after leaving a party. Not drunk, just young and stupid.
Two 17 year old drivers who took different routes home from the same party hit head on on a stretch of road between their homes, one driver is dead.
Young driver crashed her car yesterday, it burst into flames, she was pulled out by an off duty firefighter (on his way to work) and her step father burned to death because he was trapped in the van.
Three year old child in Montreal was driven over while playing on her front lawn as two kids raced down the street, one driver lost control. They are both alive and in jail, the child was buried yesterday.
Two young men were racing their motorcycles on a short road towards a busy street with a red light. One managed to swerve and turn right, into the traffic. The other driver, who had only front brakes, slammed them on and ended up ramming himself into the back of hatchback, breaking the backseat, landing under the driver's seat and injuring himself so badly he died instantly and needed to be basically shovelled out of the car.

These are the stories I tell my young, soon to be driver. She does not need to hear them in graphic detail, but she needs to hear them, as do all kids. They also need to know that it can and will happen to them if they are not careful, if they do not obey traffic laws, if they drive too fast, if they drink or do drugs and then drive. Young drivers believe it most definitely will not happen to them... there is not one dead kid who expected it to happen. This is what I think kids need to know.

Sounds harsh? Maybe. But if it saves a life, it's worth it. I lost 7 friends in one spring, all but one to a driving related incident. Young people should not have to deal with that kind of loss.

That being said, Driver's Ed should be mandatory. We have graduated licensing here as well, which sounds something like in VA. http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/gradu/index.html I don't know if it helps at all, there seems to be just as many teens and young adults in accidents as ever.

I don't know what else to say on the matter. Kids need a wake up call when they are driving and need to know the responsibilities that go along with it. It's not a game, it's not a toy, it's serious business. I'm scared to death to let my child behind the wheel. Sigh, but it's going to happen sooner than later.
Spanner, I couldn't agree more. My daughter is 17 and so far has shown little interest in driving (thankfully) but I have a plan in place to make sure she learns how to drive properly and responsibly. Being a junior firefighter, she has seen first-hand what the aftermath of a crash is like and that may be part of the reason she's reluctant to slide behind the wheel.

Last June we responded mutual aid to a horrific MVA in which 5 teenage girls were killed. The car burst into flames on impact, so you can guess the result. Although we will never know what exactly happened, the police investigation showed that the cell phone belonging to the 17 year old driver was being used for text messaging at the time of the crash. Most of you probably heard about this one since it made all of the major newspapers and People magazine.

In NY state you cannot drive after 9 PM if you are under 18, UNLESS you have taken driver ed and have filed the necessary paperwork. In the June incident the driver had taken the class but still had a junior license so shouldn't have been on the road. Also there are restrictions on how many others can ride in a car piloted by a jr. driver.

Reflecting on all of this, I have to blame the parents for not knowing where their kids are going or what they are doing. I think 16 or 17 is too young for an individual to have his/her own car. Borrow the family car, to go to a specific place for a specific time and return - end of story. Be specific about rules and regulations and what happens if they are violated. I put this in writing for our son so he knew what was expected of him, and I think it worked.

For my daughter I have made it clear that she is not to ride with any of her friends, at any time for any reason if they are driving, until she hears otherwise from me. If this is being over-protective, well then so be it. But after the June accident one of her friends said "I guess that's why our parents don't want us to drive..." so the message has been heard and understood.

Sorry if this a bit rambling but it's been a long day.
I'm from Louisiana and the driving age here used to be 15, when I started driving. You can still get a learners permit at 15 and your license at 16 here. I would hate to see it raised to 17, as I have heard discussed. I know many kids who graduate from highschool at 17. I don't believe a college freshman should only have 1-2 years driving experience. I think 16 is a good age. At that age you should have some idea about responsibility. As a matter of fact I think driving matures you in and of itself. I know we've all seen tragedy with young drivers and older drivers. I'm just not sure raising the age is going to solve anything.
I believe when it is your time to leave this world...it's just your time...........it doesn't matter if your 16 and driving a car or 99 and sitting on your porch.
Maybe better driver's education and education from the fire/ems service would make people more aware.
In Pa its the same, 16 with restrictions till 18. But i think some of the problems with young drivers is the parents dont care what the kids are doing when their out and about. they help them get their licence and a car to drive. and they dont hold the kids accountable for their actions. I was at a garage where a guy was rippin the garage owner a new one about some tires he got for his kids car about a month before that were now smooth. I knew both of these people and the kid who the car belonged to. and saw him several times smokin the tires in the school parking lot. and when i told the kids dad this he said"my son dosent do things like that". I told him to follow the kid some friday nite and see for himself. Unbelievably he did and came back and appoligzed to the garage owner. But the kid didnt get any trouble out of it. and still drives like an ass.
I dont think that raising the driving age is the solution. At 16 I was working a full time job and going to college(we got our learners permit at 15). If I couldnt have driven it would have been very difficult. Also I think it provides a buffer zone for the kids because they have to learn to drive under the supervision of their parents. If you raise the driving limit who is going to ride along with them and who will be instructing them properly? I would be afraid it would be kids teaching kids. Seems scary to me. When I was doing the mandatory drivers awareness class in junior high they towed in a trailer with destryed and wrecked cars and told the story of what happened to the people inside. The images stuck with me, but it didnt change some of the stupid things a lot of us did. What worked for me was having respect for my parents and being taught from a very young age to respect other peoples belongings as well. It would be nice if more parents taught their children respect and to value life. I wouldnt dare hurt my parents car, nor would I want to disappoint them or harm them or others from my actions. After seeing a discovery show on test dummies and cars, I totally lost interest in being crazy..lol My vote is for more "real" education through the school and mandatory drivers ed. I dont think we can rely totally on the parents to follow through, though they should, it's obvious not all parents will.
Illinois has a stepped/graduated license. I supported its passage and testified at the hearings when they were taking place.
Google "Tazewell County" and you will see why it is important to educate young adults on safe driving. They lead the state in teenage vehicle fatalities.
It's sad and totally preventable.
Art
John:
Does your department do any kind of Operation: PromNight for the high school in your area?
We have been doing it for many years and we haven't lost a teenager yet. School does an after prom party that everyone donates to. Kids have to get by a breathilyzer to get in.
And you're right; you can only teach them so much and they have to do the rest.
It's sad to lose anyone, but a child...
Art
Why not just take it back were to belongs.. you cant legislate intelligence, or responsability for one's actions, yet each and every single time someone F***'s up, everyone else suffersbecause of they're stupidity People in this country need to take Moral responsability for they're kids in this country, Kick em in the A** when nessisary and teach em right from wrong...Teach them what the speed limit means , what the Traffic laws mean and what happens when they dont obey them. the problem here is that they cant waste time with they're kids to do so...naturally I believe every kid needs the life experiance of being a vollie so they can know what its like to arrive on scene and know what its like to find the rolled over jeep was they're friends from school, and amazingly it is in fact Him who's trachea was crushed under the roll bar, or the goop they stepped in used to be they're girlfreinds brothers brains. These days everyone has the Jackass Attitude, well, show em what happens when they play chicken with a train.. show em death caused friom one's own stupidity..Maybe that will get folks heads out of they're a**es
Being a 17 year old I have mixed feelings on the topic. I've seen how my friends drive and wonder how they passed the drivers test. I go to school and here kids joking about how they drove home drunk and ALMOST hit something but stayed on the road. That disgusts me and I wonder how many more times they'll drive drunk until they hit a person or kill themselves. I go to college part time and I'm a senior in high school, I know my mother would hate driving me to both schools, work, volunteer job, church youth group, friends houses, and on errands. She has a life and I don't want to interfere all the time with her personal plans. I think the punishment for certain road violations should be harsher but overall, the legal age should stay 16. The responsibility is in the hands of the teenager and they know right from wrong. If a parent sees immaturity in their kid, why let them drive? But, the mature kids who have places to go and classes to be on time for shouldn't suffer the consequences.
Does anyone here think that the schools aren't dedicating enough time and effort to their drivers' ed programs?
What about the amount of driving time on the learner's permit?
Because getting driving experience is a must.
What about all of the distractions? Phones, eating in the car while driving, friends jacking around?
It all contributes.
Art
I think 16 or 17 is too young for an individual to have his/her own car. Borrow the family car, to go to a specific place for a specific time and return - end of story could not say it better!

Florida has a GDL system-whether or not it is working- I don't know. You can get your permit at 15 after passing a DATA-Drug,Alcohol, Traffic, Awareness-course and passing the road rules and the road signs tests.

This wreck happened in the Summer of 2009, just south of where I live.
http://www.news4jax.com/news/26374332/detail.html#

I started driving with my permit on December 29th, 2010. I have maybe 1 hour on the roads so far. I have been driving on my family's farm since I was 13. I know the dangers I face driving. I don't have a cell phone, which most likely helps. I could not wait to get my permit. I am careful with my driving and I am constantly aware of the drivers around me.

Drivers Ed is no longer taught in the public schools system in my county-due to budget cuts.
Every year one of the vollie departments works with the LEOs, Highway Patrol, Funeral Home, and the career dept. to put on a "don't drink and drive" day at one of the high schools. I would like to see it implemented at EVERY high school in my county and the ENTIRE country.
I just got my permit and ive been on so many terrible crashes. One crash is on the road that i take to school everyday 2 highschool girls speeding and they were sisters and the older one was driving and hit a tree killed her littler sister. From seeing all the crashes ive seen i think it needs to be raised to 18 to drive. I know when i drive i drive the speed limit if not slower and obey all the laws and watch out alot.

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